Weed Army Community Hospital has implemented several initiatives to aid in halting the spread of COVID-19 and protecting its beneficiaries, staff and the Fort Irwin Community as a whole.
Col. Larry O. France, the hospital commander, has indicated from the onset of the coronavirus pandemic that the team at WACH ‘lean-forward” to identify courses of action and to posture the organization for readiness and rapid response.
On March 6, Weed initiated an internal 24/7 COVID-19 Nurse Advice Hotline, and as of April 20, 2020, it has received more than 280 calls. There have been several engagements through Facebook live, weekly radio updates, displays on the installation marquee, and publications in the post newspaper to update the Fort Irwin/National Training Center community on changes to service hours and appointments, among many other changes.
The Coronavirus Response Team was organized to address the needs of patients and those living and working on Fort Irwin. The team is comprised of physicians, nurses and combat medics specifically trained in COVID-19 evaluation and treatment, all in accordance with the most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Army Public Health Center. They perform daily functions in support of the installation COVID-19 response, as well as vital medical screenings for everyone seeking healthcare at WACH. In addition, they track all COVID-19 patients, both confirmed and presumptive positives, and monitor patients assigned to isolation or quarantine. These medical professionals are ready to receive, manage and treat COVID-19 cases should they need hospitalization.
In support of the recommended physical distancing, WACH implemented a 6-feet tactical dispersion policy, a limited visitation and access policy, virtual health appointments, and 100 percent screening of all personnel entering its U.S. Army Medical Department Activity Readiness Platforms, to include WACH, Javier Villanueva Troop Medical Clinic, Embedded Behavioral Health, Mary Walker Center and screening tents. Wearing a mask to cover both nose and mouth is also required, in accordance with the DoD, CDC, Fort Irwin and MEDDAC Commander policies, and is enforced for everyone who enters the facility.
WACH has implemented a liberal telework policy where applicable to decrease the traffic within the organization, and support the “stay-at-home” order while still providing health care to our beneficiaries. Routine staff meetings have been modified and held with the appropriate tactical dispersion and no more than 10 individuals in a room, through video teleconferencing, or telephonic dial-in, and all town halls are currently held online as virtual town halls.
On April 3, the WACH pharmacy stood-up its curbside prescription pick-up service which was received with praise and numerous accolades from the community. The curbside pick-up service serves approximately 50 beneficiaries per week for an average of 60 prescription refills.
In an effort to combat the stress that comes with the coronavirus, the WACH Behavioral Health Department is promoting resiliency in part by greeting the staff every Friday, with light refreshments and an inspirational quote.
The Nutrition Care Division is operating as a Grab-N-Go, with limited service for staff and inpatients.
WACH Command Group continues to synchronize efforts with the Fort Irwin Garrison and tenant commands to ensure continued access to safe, quality healthcare, aggressive engagement on all potential COVID-19 cases, and .